In honor of May being Mental Health Awareness Month, the Long Beach Arts Council, Angels Gate Cultural Center and 23 other organizations and artists in the Port area have come together to present a series of events and in-person and virtual workshops aimed at improving mental health and well-being through art and creative expression.
The series, “Bridging Wellness,” will run throughout May and primarily features free educational, arts, and music events and activities, including painting, beading, dancing, sound baths, and concerts.
“Bridging Wellness” is supported by We Rise LA, a mental health advocacy organization that focuses on healing through art. The series’ lineup is available throughout LA County, Click here to see more information. To register for local events Click here. Local pop-ups and events are listed below.
- Embody water for well-being (May 11) — Led by instructor Vannia Ibarguen, this hour-long dance session introduces participants to a dance style characterized by flowing movements and breathing techniques designed to express the body’s relationship to the elements, especially water . In the class, Ibarguen will teach participants a dance designed to “restore the body’s fluid capacity for healing, insight, and creative engagement,” according to the website. The class is inspired by Global Water Dances Project, an internationally acclaimed event that brings together choreographers from around the world to inspire action for clean water environmentalism through dance. The course takes place on Wednesday, May 11 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Marine Stadium (5255 E. Paoli Way) and is free. Click here for more information.
- Beadwork and Talking Circle workshops (May 11, 18, 25) – This Native American-led series features a beadwork activity in which participants learn how to create a basic beaded cord necklace as a group. Participants will be seated in a circle that will also include a supportive discussion on mental wellness through the lens of the Native American Medicine Wheel, a philosophy used by generations of Native Americans for health and healing. The event takes place every Wednesday through May from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Angels Gate Cultural Center (3601 South Gaffey St.) and is free. Click here for more information.
- Say Gay! Queer Art Classes (May 13, 20, 27) — Part history lesson, part painting session, this series will explore historical queer artists and their work. Each lesson will focus on a different artist, some well-known and others who create works that fall outside the heteronormative canon. Artist Lucas Gordon will also teach participants how to create “Identity Inventories,” a practice designed to help artists focus their creativity on what they find important and then create their own works of art. The event takes place every Friday through May from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the LBGTQ Center Long Beach (2017 E. Fourth St.) and is free. Click here for more information.
- Grounded, Stable, Empowered conference (May 13, 16) — Lucia Capacchione, author and art therapist behind The Creative Journal: The Art of Finding Yourself, will lead a live online workshop teaching the creative journaling method she created, which combines writing and drawing to release feelings, explore dreams and creatively solve problems. Joining Capacchione will be Yullia Antonova, a Ukrainian practitioner of the same creative journaling method, who will help lead the workshop. Antonova will also share her experience using the journaling method to support herself and those affected by war in Ukraine. The workshop is Friday, May 13. It’s free to watch, Click here to subscribe to the Zoom link. There’s a second live stream scheduled for May 16, but details are TBD. Click here for more information.
- NAMI ENDS THE SILENCE (May 14) – The Long Beach Jazz Angels host the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) who will present “Ending the Silence”, a youth-focused discussion that allows high school students to ask questions about mental health issues directly to people who have experienced this. The presentation will also encourage students to take care of themselves and their friends and teach them that it is okay to talk about their feelings. The event is from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. May 14 at the Jazz Angels studio at 3258 E. Willow St. The event is free but RSVP is required. Click here for more information.
- Village of art and well-being: a day of mindfulness, spoken world, art and music (May 14) — Downtown, attendees can attend a full day of activities encouraging attendees to relax and reflect in retrospect. Expect a sound bath, a creative writing and kinetic painting workshop, an introduction to Reiki healing, and a spoken word performance focused on creating positive outcomes in life. Closing the event will be a concert by the Long Beach Blues Society. The event will begin at 11 a.m. and run until 7 p.m. at the East Village Art Park (150 Elm Ave.) and is free. Click here for more information and the calendar of activities.
- Speak louder! Write an editorial (May 14) – Prolific opinion writer Pamela K. Johnson, whose op-eds have appeared in the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, will host a live stream teaching audiences how to create a publication-ready op-ed by realizing the power of personal opinion. overview of history. The workshop will encourage writers to make thoughtful commentary on the world around them, which can serve as a cathartic exercise or an incentive for creative writing. Johnson will also offer insight into how to submit an essay to major journals and interact with editors. The virtual workshop is from 10 a.m. to noon. Click here for more information.
- Word Women: A Leap, Leap, and Leap from Trauma to Art (May 15) — This workshop led by artist Ja’net Danielo will explore how poetry can be used for therapeutic purposes. Participants will write with Danielo and discuss methods of creating art from trauma as a “radical act of mental wellness.” The free virtual event is from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 15. Click here for more information.
- Here Hear: Meditative Sound Experiences (May 15) — This meditative experience is designed to activate awareness of your physical body by allowing participants to focus on various sounds and how they physically absorb these stimuli. Arts Council for Long Beach instructor Betsy Lohrer will use a variety of ambient and environmental sounds and guide participants towards more mindful thinking. The event will take place from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Sunday, May 15 at the Angels Gate Cultural Center (3601 S. Gaffey St., San Pedro). Participation is free but RSVP is required. Click here for more information.
- Compound Long Beach Mental Health Event (May 15) — This mental health event focuses more on the power of food to help improve mental well-being. Check out a cooking demo from Long Beach Fresh, another on mindful eating and gut health, and a third on raw foods. There will also be a sound bath experience and an artist workshop by Luis Zavala Tapia. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 15 at Compound (1395 Coronado Ave.). It’s free to attend. Click here for more information, including scheduled programming.
- PIEAM exhibition “Toe Fo’i: The Return” (May 22) – The Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum hosts muralist and graphic designer Jason “JP” Pereira for an art walk of his mural on the museum building titled “Ho’okahi” (Hawaiian word meaning “to make one”) which depicts visual history holistic wellness and resilience. The visit to the museum (695 Alamitos Ave.) takes place from noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 22. It costs $5 to attend; $3 for students and seniors; and is free for museum members. Click here for more information.
- Bridging the Gap (May 28) – Watch a live screening of artist and muralist Cody Lusby’s film “Bridging the Divide”, a film that documents the start of a project of large-scale wire hands interlocking over highways pedestrians linking towns and communities. Attendees will also be able to experience concept art “which is a response to the divided world we live in”, organizers say. The event will take place from 7-9 p.m. on Saturday, May 28 at the Artist Co-op at 1330 Gladys Ave. Participation is free, but RSVP is required. Click here for more information.
- Rock for Vets Memorial Day Concert (May 30) – Performing live for the first time since the pandemic, Rock for Vets is set to perform a Memorial Day concert at Jimmy E’s Bar and Grill (2951 Cherry Ave., Signal Hill). The event will celebrate veterans and serve as a fundraiser with raffles and a live auction to benefit the Rock for Vets music program, which is dedicated to improving lives and wellbeing. veterans through music education.